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A supernova test of special relativity.

A supernova test of special relativity

The explosion of supernova 1987A released a burst of approximately 10.sup.58 neutrinos and antineutrinos, of which 19 were captured in Earth-based detectors. Those neutrinos, after traveling more than 160,000 light-years from the Large Magellanic Cloud, arrived within a period of 12 seconds. According to Kenneth Brecher of Boston University, these observations provide the most stringent test to date of a central postulate in Einstein's special theory of relativity.

Brecher and student Joao L. Yun use the data to show that the speed of the supernova neutrinos is independent of the speed of their individual sources. Their calculations confirm Einstein's postulate that the speed of light (or of any mass-less particle) doesn't depend on the source's speed to an accuracy of better than 1 part in 100 billion.
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Author:Peterson, Ivars
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 21, 1989
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